Rant and Raves from a Displaced Padre Fan

April 21st, 2004 was a good night to be on a business trip in San Francisco. At about 3pm in the afternoon I decided that I would venture out and see my first, in-person, live Padre game in many, many years. It was nostalgic. It was magic. It was at SBC Park and it was a grand time.

The ballpark is very nice, the people friendly, the food good, the game great. As you know, the Padres handed Barry Bonds and the SF Giants another loss. The Giant fans were headed to the exit by the 4th or 5th inning in droves. The boo-birds were out in force after Barry struck out the first time and each of the subsequent walks. The "Pitch to Barry" signs were quickly put away after he was called out watching the 3rd strike.

Since it's been a while since I've been to a ball game, I made some observations about the changes I noticed.

a) The new stadiums are much nicer. Cleaner, smoke free and more intimate. Intimacy also implies cramped. I was sitting between two people and any thoughts of getting cold were diminished by overlapping coats from either side. Every seat seemed to be a good seat although there are a lot of bleacher seats – implies no seatback and a sore back.

b) Lots of food and beverage options. This implies that you will eat too much. Drinking is curbed by $7 beers, $5 sodas, etc.

c) The scoreboard and sound systems are greatly improved. You can actually understand the PA and see the scoreboard. You can actually tell that it's a woman doing the PA and she had a very pleasant sounding voice. The scoreboard flashed a "Will you marry me?" message and to my surprise, they were sitting behind me.

d) Peanuts are no longer sold in the those red and white paper bags but instead in a much more commercialized bag that looks like you went to your local grocery store.

e) Cotton candy comes in the color of a rainbow.

f) The food vendors that stroll through the stands aren't as young as I remember. This implies I'm just getting older. I remember younger people running around, having fun, tossing peanuts, etc.

g) The fans are still fans. No issues with me being a Padre fan in the mist of Giant fans. No thrown beer, no fighting, no cursing. This implies that the Padres had the game won early on.

h) Lots of cheering for the home team, lots of booing for the opponents. Just how I remember it.

The game was everything I had hoped it would be. The green grass of the outfield against the red clay infield. The fans. The anticipation of batting practice and trying to snag a home run or a foul ball. The experience of getting to the game early and watching the intimate details of field preparation. Interviews from the dugout. And the best part of course, a Padre win. I hope that my (and your) next game isn't so long this time and I hope to see you at the ballpark!


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